Wellness is not exclusive

This week Kourtney Kardashian unveiled her new lifestyle and wellness site, Poosh. Well this brought up all kinds of feels for me and so I thought it was time I finally tackled the topic of wellness elitism.

My first impressions of the Poosh website was that it did a good job tackling a variety of topics, but was disappointed in the depth of the articles. I was impressed to see ”Tapping into your spiritual side” but was unsatisfied with the 3 uninspired paragraphs on the topics that really made one valid suggestion. It seems like they are attempting to grow their content and adding other authors which will be sure to increase the quality of the content, but in the meantime, it seems like Poosh is not really filling any void in the market. There is no shortage for lifestyle content, and I expected more than fluff. Beyond that, in true Kardashian fashion, they are perpetuating an unattainable body image. “An instant butt lift with Coach Joe” and “How to look good naked”–their headlines alone imply you need to change how you look. Beyond that, there are almost-naked photos of Kourtney of everywhere.

But this post was not meant as a critic of Poosh, or the Kardashians (not that they don’t deserve some critiquing!). When I read the name “Poosh” (apparently it’s so named for the nickname of one of Kourtney’s children) it immediately made me think of “Bloosh” the lifestyle trend app featured in a few episodes of the show Parks and Recreation. The CEO of Bloosh, Annabel Porter is maybe my favorite depiction of the absurdity that the wellness community espouses at times. A great example of this is from the episode “Recall Vote” she mentions that “in her home, they do not eat meals. They have ‘food teases,’ such as oat wedges and seaweed lozenges.” Enough said, right? I have no evidence of this, but I always felt that the writer’s were using Gwyneth Paltrow and her wellness site/brand, Goop as their inspiration for unattainable wellness.

Now, Goop has expanded over the years, and has become more inclusive of a diversity of price points, but it’s elitism is really what makes it stand out as a brand. By touting high end skin care regimes, designer fashion, and unique (read expensive) travel destinations–it’s a lifestyle brand that’s foundation is built on aspirational living. And wellness is no exception– with Goop branded vitamin packs retailing at $90/month– Goop defines wellness as exclusive. I appreciate Goop’s unique content, but it is definitely not created to be accessible for all. As it’s founder, through out the years, Gwyneth Paltrow has been criticized for being out of touch with the masses and being unaware of her privilege.

While dear Gwynnie has been out in the stratosphere in terms of her connection to the “every woman”, there is another public figure that is even more disconnected than our dear Gwen.

… and that’s Amanda Chantal Bacon (the irony of her name is not lost on me), the founder of Moon Juice. Elle magazine published her food diary in 2015, and I reference it whenever I need a good laugh. She is the real life Annabel Porter. Her daily diet–from ho shou wu to Shilajit resin–consists of foods that most of the population have never even heard of. It’s next level elite, and that’s how it’s intended. Rare, globally sourced ingredients are a huge money maker.

This parody of the article also continues to make me chuckle (but read the article first!):

So we now have:

  • Poosh

  • the fake, “Bloosh”

  • Goop

  • and Moon Juice

…coincidence? I think not. I’m not exactly sure why double Os mean elite wellness, but there is definitely a trend here (not to mention Well + Good. You could take it a step further and include dominant tech giants, Google, Yahoo, and Facebook!).

But I digress. These three (real :)) women and their empires are built on sharing their elite standard of living with the masses. To quote my current muse, Jameela Jamil,

“Let’s get real about money for a second. Because money is the reason most people don’t look as thin and young as celebrities. These people have trainers, chefs, access to the best organic food, they have the best beauticians, staff to help them do everything, a MUCH less stressful life, the best doctors, many have talented surgeons, they have make up artists and hair stylists. And then ON TOP of that, they are airbrushed without telling you they are. You are being set up for a fall with this comparison porn culture. Swerve the lies and just do you.”

Calling attention to these extreme examples in the wellness community is important because they set an unrealistic expectation of what the average person can do to make their lives healthier. Beyond the sheer expense of living the way they do, they overcomplicate what it means to be healthy. You don’t have to live like the 1% to have a healthy existence. Icons like Kourtney and Gwyneth set an unrealistic example of what wellness is for the every woman. While drinking adaptogens and cordyceps every morning can make you feel awesome, not everyone has the means to add this into their diets daily. Superfoods are great, but by no means are they a requirement to live a healthy life!

As a person who owns a wellness based business, I like to show you new trends, but I never want anyone to feel like they can live a healthy lifestyle if they can’t use a certain product. Because it’s NOT TRUE!! Wellness is truly accessible to all.

“Eat (real) food, not too much, mostly plants” - Michael Pollan

Don’t let the wellness elite make you think it’s more complicated than that.